Paws for a Cause; Grand Center Art Walk; NCJW preps for ‘Store’

Columnist Lois Caplan

By Lois Caplan

FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS are not the only ones suffering from the effects of the economy’s downward spiral. Paws for a Cause, established in 2009 to help owners who find themselves unable to buy food for their beloved pets, can now go the local food pantry for dog and cat food, insuring that the animals will be fed and cared for. No, this is not like saving a child or a mom or dad, but pet lovers know how vitally important the relationship between pet owners and their pets is.  Take me, for example.  My tiny toy poodle is credited with saving my life when I had a terrible heart attack, so truly I can’t imagine living without her.

As a part of their 2011 project called “Giving Back to the Community,” the Brentmoor Retirement Communities is partnering with Paws for a Cause to collect pet foods. From April 1 to June 30 you may drop off your donation at the Brentmoor, 8600 Delmar or Brentmoor Place, 1001 McKnight Road.   For more information call 314-995-3811.

THE ANNUAL SPRING ART WALK IN GRAND CENTER will soon be back with us again but with some new additions and the usual, great exhibitions at the region’s art institutions located there. From 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 20, the museums, galleries and restaurants will open their doors. As always there will be live entertainment and music throughout the district.  The evening will be capped off with the outdoor showing of “Spellbound,” Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film, to be shown in the alley (you should pardon the expression) of the Pulitzer Foundation and projected on the wall of the neighboring Contemporary Art Museum.  

New to the Art Walk 2011 will be a free tram and a passport system for discounts from participating restaurants. Visitors will be issued passports upon which they may collect stamps at each museum or gallery.  Those with six or more stamps will find discounts at district restaurants and discounted tickets to that evening’s Casual Concert by the St. Louis Symphony at Powell Hall.  

Among the varied exhibits are “Cryptic: the Use of Allegory in Contemporary Art” with a master class from Goya at the Contemporary Art Museum and “Georges Rouault: Miserere et Guerre, the complete series of etchings” at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art.  

The Art Walk in Grand Center is free and open to the public.  Visit for more information.

SINCE IT IS JUST APRIL not many are thinking about going back to school except the National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis Section which provides the community with the hugely successful Back- to- School Store. On Sunday, July 28 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. more than 1,000 underserved St. Louis area students will be outfitted with new clothes and supplies for their first day of school. As you can imagine, this requires lots of volunteers, especially “personal shoppers” who help the kids with their selections.  I did this some years back and found it to be the most fun and most satisfying volunteer job I ever did. There are all other kinds of volunteer jobs on this big day.  If you cannot give your time, you can always give dollars, which will help each child start the school year with confidence and readiness to learn. For more information, to donate or volunteer, call Nancy Weigley at 314-993-5181 or email her at [email protected].

After a very busy spring of fundraising for its various causes including Lydia’s House, the Section will conclude its club year with an NCJW Board installation on the evening of May 23 at the home of Lenore and Edwin Pepper. Among the honorees will be Andrea Newstead as Emerging Leader; Liz Kruvand for Community Service; Jennifer Bernstein for Advocacy; Sherri Goldman for Leadership and Leslie Waldbaum for Volunteer Service and her decade of chairing the monthly Art Interest group.  Tickets at $15 are available and can be obtained on-line at

ONE OF MY FAVORITE FUNDRAISING PARTIES, is the FloraDora Gala, probably because I love parties and circuses and here is a combination of both.  At 7 p.m. Friday, May 27 under the big top tent in Grand Center adjacent to Powell Hall, guests are invited to “Dr. Flora’s Traveling Medicine Show.” The evening’s hype describes it as “a distinctive red carpet event, which tempts great minds to explore the mystic and majestic, all while rubbing elbows with a mix of local celebrities, community leaders and legendary circus stars.” There will be edibles from St. Louis’ finest restaurants, cocktails from the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild-St. Louis Chapter and a special preview of select acts from this year’s production, “Vagabond Adventures.”Both silent and live auction items will be there for the bidding including a private lesson on the flying trapeze.  For reservations starting at $50 for those under 30 all the way up to $1,500 for a group of 10, call Kate Poss at 314-289-4043 or visit Proceeds benefit Circus Flora’s educational outreach programs. The 2011 production, “Vagabond Adventures” runs June 2 through June 26.